Sad, Suffering Return of “Godspell”

This review of the Godspell revival made me laugh:

“Godspell” is showing its age, at least as represented by director Daniel Goldstein’s production at New York’s Circle in the Square Theatre. This first Broadway revival of the beloved 1971 “rock musical” might be compared to a middle-aged person trying to recapture youth. In people the result is sad to see, but here it’s just boring.

What seemed fresh and light 40 years ago — 20-something actors cavorting around in colorful ragtag costumes singing and acting out Jesus’ parables, with him leading and joining in the fun — now seems like a church pageant aimed at getting the youth group more interested in religion. Nothing in this revival is of Broadway quality except the songs, which were adapted by composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz from the Episcopal hymnal and the Gospel of Matthew.

Even the songs suffer here because of choreographer Christopher Gattelli’s formulaic dance moves, which in the case of the show’s breakout hit, “Day by Day,” look more like a cardio class warm-up.

You only know for sure that it is in the National Catholic Reporter because the reviewer’s main complaint is that the producers didn’t update the production with inclusive language.

I’ve never understood the appeal of Godspell. It opens, as I recall, with a number that pokes fun at St. Thomas Aquinas and scholasticism as an intellectual discipline. No thanks.